So, what’s the best cruise?

Feb 18, 2023 | Cruise Lines, Ports of Call/Destinations, Tips and Tricks

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So, what’s the best cruise?

Hey everybody! This is Scott. I’ve got my yellow Lab, Edison, at my feet, and, together, we will attempt to answer the question: “what’s the best cruise?” Wish us luck!

(Teaser: Read through to the end to learn about a shortcut for finding what’s the best cruise for you!)

I can’t tell you how often we’re asked that. It’s like asking, “what’s the best automobile?” or “what’s the best ice cream flavor?” The answers are: it’s different for everyone, and it depends.

 

Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all automobile.

People have different uses for automobiles and different tastes in sizes, colors, options, and brands. For example, a family of four might love a light-blue Honda Odyssey for taking the kids to school, shopping, and family outings to the beach. Whereas the 30-year-old, successful attorney living by the coast might love her hot-red, convertible Audi R8 for taking her friends out for a night of clubbing or driving her fiancé down A1A on a beautiful spring day here in Florida. Indeed, neither of those would work for the small business owner who has to haul things around all day for his clients. This guy needs a flatbed, and he needs his Hemi engine to handle the workload. He might also need a tow hitch, and he definitely needs the cabin to be super comfortable because he will spend many hours each week in there.

 

What about ice cream?

Even if you could say that Mint Chocolate Chip is your favorite ice cream flavor, it’s likely not to be your favorite every time, in every situation. Would you have Mint Chocolate Chip served over hot apple pie? Likely, you’d choose Vanilla for that. There’s a reason Baskin-Robbins offers 31 flavors – one for each day of the month! You may love that Mint Chocolate Chip, but eat it every day for a month? Most of us would like some variety. And, not only do you personally have different reasons for different flavors, your spouse, friends, family, coworkers, etc., might not all want the exact flavor you do.

 

There is no “best” cruise line, cruise ship, or cruise itinerary.

Cruise lines have diverse philosophies about cruising. They approach their ship design in distinct ways. They have contrasting views about their crew-to-guest and space-per-guest ratios. Their strategies for pricing are inconsistent, as are their inclusions or lack thereof. Within each line, there are often varying categories of ships that achieve different goals. There are countless itineraries for them to consider. And so much more. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the dissimilarities between lines, ships, and itineraries.

So, when we’re asked, “what’s the best cruise?” we immediately roll up our sleeves and begin the inquisition.

 

Who’s going?

The first question we generally ask you is, who’s going? (Nope, our first question is seldom about your budget.) We usually follow that with, when are you going, and for how long? That gives us the foundation.

 

What do you want?

Then we move on to what you want out of your cruise. For instance, are you looking for a lot of activities on the ship itself? Are you super active people who want rock climbing walls, ziplines, racecars, and rollercoasters onboard? (Yes, there are ships with a racetrack and a rollercoaster!)

(For active ships and travelers with children, we recommend Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, and Disney Cruise Line. To learn more, check out Family Cruises and Group Cruises.)

 

What's the best Group Cruise?

Group Cruises – vacationing or celebrating, cruising is even more fun with friends!

 

Looking for adventure?

Or, do you prefer something more adventurous off the ship? Are you looking to explore? Do you want to swim with dolphins, get up close and personal with penguins, or look a 100-year-old tortoise right in the eyes? Are you brave enough to go where very few people have ever ventured to the most northern part of our planet? Can you stomach the Drake Passage to get to the jaw-dropping beauty of Antarctica? Do you have the heart of an expeditioner?

(For expeditioners, we recommend Celebrity Xpedition, Seabourn Expedition, Silversea Expedition, and Viking Expedition. To learn more, check out Expedition & Adventure Cruises.)

 

King Penguins, Antarctica, Ponant Expedition Cruise Ship, South Georgia

 

Do you want to be immersed in the local culture?

Or, is your idea of an extraordinary cruise one in which there’s cultural immersion? Are you looking for a locally authentic experience? Do you want to meet people in far-off lands and encounter cultures entirely unlike your own? Do you want that enrichment to not end at the port, but instead find its way onboard with lectures or unique dining experiences using locally-sourced foods and beverages?

For the locally immersive, culturally authentic cruiser, you next have to decide just how immersive you want to get. Some will find that small ocean vessels ignite their spirit, but they can only go so far inland. Others feel there’s nothing like a river cruise to bring them closer to the action, but they cover less of our planet. Both are fantastic options. And, honestly, you don’t have to choose – we can book you on an ocean cruise that ends at the beginning of a river cruise! (…that ends at another ocean cruise!! And so on until your friends and family begin to wonder where the heck you are!)

(For river cruises, we recommend AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, and Viking River Cruises. To learn more, check out River Cruises. If you prefer an ocean cruise but still want to be immersed in the local culture, check out Azamara. Here’s a great blog post about Azamara: “Savoring the Seas: The Azamara Mediterranean Cruise Experience.”)

 

What's the best River Cruise? The River Nile - Sail away on River Cruises

River Cruises – the cultural immersion is extraordinary indeed!

 

Affordable luxury or premium luxury?

If you’ve chosen the ocean cruise, we only then finally ask about your budget – do you want affordable luxury or premium luxury? Affordable luxury offers them more inclusions than most mass-market lines and elevated service; whereas with premium luxury, almost everything is included, the service is exceptional – usually with butlers – and all rooms are suites.

(For premium luxury, we recommend: Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Silversea Cruises. To learn more, check out Luxury Cruises.)

(Here’s a great blog post written by Laura: “Have you considered a luxury cruise? Here are ten reasons why you should.” And here’s another great one written by Diana: “How to Choose the Right Luxury Cruise Line for You.”)

 

What's the best Luxury Cruise? Luxury, culture, fine dining, and Broadway-caliber entertainment...you really can have it all at sea!

Luxury Cruises – luxury, culture, fine dining, and Broadway-caliber entertainment…you really can have it all at sea!

 

Big ship or small?

The affordable luxury crowd has one last question to answer: do you want a big ship that can hold 1,500 or more guests or a small ship that holds less than 1,500 guests? The answer might seem obvious at first, but reflect on the significance of their differences.

While big ships have more guests, they also have more activities, restaurants, lounges, etc., onboard. However, they can be at a disadvantage by being unable to get to some of the more unique ports that small ships can reach. Conversely, while small ships can access those hard-to-get-to ports of call that the big ships cannot, they have fewer options onboard. A deciding factor may be the number of sea days you’ll have on your particular itinerary. If you’ll be on the ship for several days during your voyage, the variety offered by a big ship may prove invaluable. However, if your trip is port-intensive, that variety is almost moot.

(For big-ship, affordable luxury, we recommend Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises. For small-ship, affordable luxury, we recommend Oceania Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, and Windstar Cruises. To learn more, check out Luxury Cruises.)

 

What's the best European Cruise? Munot Fortress - culture, history and so much more!

European Cruises – culture, history and so much more!

 

It’s harder than you thought, eh?

Now I ask YOU, “what’s the best cruise?” It’s a much harder question to answer now, isn’t it? Especially considering all that you have to choose from. The difficulty is compounded by who you’re traveling with, how much time you and they can cruise and during which part of the year, what everyone’s ages are, and what each person in your traveling party wants from their cruise.

So, what’s the best cruise? There really is no “best” cruise.

But, that’s okay. There doesn’t have to be. Like Baskin-Robbins, there are many lines, ships, and itineraries to choose from. More importantly, you don’t have to weigh those decisions alone. You have us! We do this every day for people in similar situations as you. We can help you navigate these challenging waters (pun totally intended) and help you find your way, not to the “best” cruise, but to the cruise that is the best fit for you and your traveling party’s needs and wants.

I mentioned, at the beginning of this post, I was going to share with you a shortcut for finding what’s the best cruise for you. Well, here it is: https://myextraordinaryadventures.com/find-the-perfect-cruise/. Click through and find out!

 

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